Crowdsourced #OpenJustice Work Month 1

Just over a month ago I took the plunge and asked the twittersphere if they’d pay me a £1 a month (or any amount greater than that) to support my Open Justice work, live tweeting inquests and other court cases and tribunals.

I’ve deliberately not collected email addresses because I don’t want to get into the feel of needing to spend time writing email newsletters or updates about the work. Instead I figured I’d blog every couple of months and share what I’d been spending my time on. While things are still getting off the ground I thought I’d share how things are going from a financial perspective too.

Show me the money 

I received an email that told me I shouldn’t be talking about donations because this is work, and therefore it deserves payment. Booooom. I completely agree. So far 53 people have signed up to give me a monthly payment.

I’ve also been blown away by people who have donated a one-off sum. 54 people have done that so far.

Altogether that gave me an income of £488.50 in the first month (and hopefully ever month that follows for the foreseeable). In addition to that monthly income, the current total of one off donations stands at £2,649.15.

I said I’d not advertise who gave me money but (given they have already made this public) I was particularly touched to receive a donation from attendees at the Positive Choices Positive Commitments: Learning Disability Nursing conference that took place in Dublin as Danny’s inquest was happening in York. Massive thanks to Rebecca and Debra for making that happen.

I also received at least one monthly payment from a cancelled Labour Party sub, one from a cancelled NAS monthly donation and one from a cancelled Mencap monthly donation. The last one in particular gave me a bit of a warm glow inside.

What have I spent my time on / what have you got for your money 

The costs associated with live tweeting Danny Tozer’s inquest were already covered by generous donations collected when I live tweeted Richard Handley’s inquest back in February of this year. The 2,115 tweets over the fortnight of Danny’s inquest were covered from the leftover cash in Richard’s pot.

I have used my time in April to do a number of things related to Danny’s inquest. I crocheted 58 teacups that we left hanging up around York and further afield. These crocheted teacups were put together with individually wrapped teabags and a luggage tag stamped with the message ‘Have a cuppa to remember Danny @TozerInquest’

Danny loved tea and the teacups/teabags were just one small way of humanising the inquest process, drawing attention to what was happening, in a way that reflected Danny and one of his likes.

It’s not all been crochet though. I also published three blog posts linked to Danny’s inquest, two of which drew heavily on Danny’s parents words:

Who was Danny Tozer?

Family statement at the conclusion of the inquest into Danny Tozer 

The third post was my first attempt to make sense of what we heard across the fortnight of Danny’s inquest:

Dying for a Wank

I spent my time doing three other things too. One was spending some time working up a funding application, which hopefully might buy me some time to develop a business model for this work that is more sustainable than the current plan. The second thing was trying to encourage the internet to stitch a Lord Justice Munby quote for Human Rights Day in December:

Currently there are 23 councils that are taken, which leaves over 125 still up for grabs. You can read more in this post here and shout if you’d like to reserve your council. This month I’ll try and do another blog post with more info on stitching and what it might look like, because people have been asking for that.

The third and final other thing I’ve done is respond to a few emails from families looking for advice or help, either because they are hoping to live tweet a loved one’s inquest, or because they’re having difficulties getting people to take them seriously. I’m not sure I’ve always got answers, but its good to be able to take time speaking with people.

What difference does the money make?

I can’t tell you how grateful I am to everyone who has supported me, it makes such a difference to receive emails and know there is some time already banked this month to enable me to do respond, without worrying about how I’ll get paid, or what other work I should be doing instead. Thank you.

The other absolute joy of having payments in the bank was the ease with which I upgraded my weekend train ticket to York. I knew I was going to be on the train for over 6 hours due to engineering works, and due to Devon being a long way from anywhere. One of the people who made a one off donation suggested that I use their money for ‘comfort’ purchases, perhaps having a starter or desert at dinner or a slightly nicer hotel than the youth hostels I’ve been known to stay in. I knew donations to Richard’s inquest would pay my train fare to York, but it was an absolute relief not to worry about whether I could justify the additional £25 to upgrade to a comfy seat and free wifi on my trip north. This proved to be a great decision too as the train was missing three carriages and had people stood in the corridors, never have I been more grateful for my comfy seat.

So thank you for the dosh, the advice and the comfort. Thank you also for the solidarity, it means a lot to know that I have a virtual gang stood shoulder to shoulder with me as I sit down in court each day.

I wasn’t sure but now I’m in, what do I do?

So that’s about it. If you would like to support my #OpenJustice work live tweeting inquests then please drop me a line, leave me a comment here or DM me on twitter with an email address and I’ll send you a link with more information about how to make a monthly payment. Anything over £1 a month is truly very welcome. If you’d like to make a one off donation then I’ve set up a page here.

When will we hear from you again?

I don’t intend to do a post like this every month, I’m hoping that once every three months will give people an idea of what I’m spending their money on and what a difference it’s making. What do you think?

Thank you for the support, the cash and the solidarity.

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